After 70 Years, Los Angeles (Finally!) Has a New Streetlight

Stephen Parisi

Los Angeles-based design studio Project Room has been selected the winner of L.A. Lights the Way -- a first-of-its kind competition to design and create a new standard streetlight for the city.

via LACity Mayor Garcetti announced that Project Room, a Los Angeles-based design studio, has been selected as the winner of L.A. Lights the Way — a first-of-its kind competition to design and create a new standard streetlight for our city. 
“Los Angeles is a place where the world comes to inspire and innovate, where we infuse everything with our trademark creativity, and where we always seek to invent new ways for government to be a force for good in people’s lives,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Project Room’s design illuminates a future that does more than brighten public spaces — it brings smarter design to our neighborhoods, helps us combat climate change, and promotes equity across our city.” 
Led by the Mayor’s Office and the Bureau of Street Lighting (BSL), the competition asked applicants to consider how streetlights can incorporate new technology, include space for text on each pole, and provide shade to help ease the impacts of the climate crisis. The entries were judged by a panel of six experts in design, lighting, and public infrastructure.
Project Room will receive $70,000 for winning the competition. The design will not impact the standing of historic streetlights already in place across Los Angeles. Instead, it will gradually replace the roughly 180,000 standard streetlights currently dispersed citywide. BSL installs 1,000 to 2,000 standard streetlights each year.
Project Room’s winning design reimagines the traditional lamp post as a bundle of tubes where each service — roadway light, pedestrian light, and telecommunications equipment — is assigned a dedicated tube fabricated of steel or aluminum. The design allows for additional features, such as 5G equipment, shade fixtures, and even a bench, to be added as needed.
“The Project Room design was the clear standout for the members of the jury,” said Christopher Hawthorne, Chief Design Officer for the City of Los Angeles. “What’s most impressive about it is that it’s not a single, fixed design but instead a family of forms that can be reconfigured in nearly endless ways. That adaptability will serve to future-proof the design, giving it flexibility in accommodating new technology as it arrives.” Other details about the competition can be found at LALightstheWay.
“We are incredibly honored that our design was selected by the City of L.A. and the Bureau of Street Lighting,” said Sandy Yum, Project Room co-founder. “L.A. Lights the Way challenged us to create a new streetlight for Los Angeles that would connect to our city's design history and culture, incorporate new technology, and still reflect L.A.'s diversity. We are delighted that the City of LA took this historic opportunity to reimagine its core systems as a symbol of this diversity, rather than an expression of ordered uniformity. In this way it can truly become an icon of the city of Los Angeles. At a time of great cultural and civic transformation, the streetlight is an ever-changeable monument to an ever-changing city.
The Project Room collective, from left: Sumit Sahdev, Sandra Yum, Joakim Dahlqvist (with dog, Arloh) and Isaac Resnikoff, photographed in Mount Washington. They took first place in the city-sponsored streetlight competition. (Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times)

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